Biggest, fastest, slowest – latest population growth and change in Australia

Simone - Myth Buster

Simone has a rich background in human geography, demography and urban planning – a background that was useful in her previous roles in the Commonwealth and State Governments, and now as part of the forecast team at .id. From the Queensland coast to the southern suburbs of Perth, Simone produces population and dwelling forecasts that help local governments make informed decisions about future service and planning needs. She is a regular contributor to .id’s blog and has spoken at several conferences on how our cities and regions are changing. She is a big advocate of evidence-based planning and how Census and other data can inform this. Outside of work Simone is a keen traveller and photographer – interests that tie in well with her professional life and help her to understand “place”.

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5 Responses

  1. Leo says:

    Walkerville in Adelaide is an upper middle class suburb. it is surprising that the population trend is positive. From a traditional trend perspective the better off do not have large families as they can better afford contraception and aim to provide for better education to their children which costs more, therefor less children require less overall investment in education.
    What is the sociological explanation from your end which is supported by evidence?

  2. Simone says:

    Thanks for your comment Leo. We were quite surprised by the figures for Walkerville as the rate and volume of growth is considerably higher than any time in the last ten years. I don’t think it’s anything to do with changes to the fertility rate, as it’s quite low. I believe it is to do with the construction of apartments ie more dwellings = more people. You would need to follow up with the ABS (as they produce these statistics) to get a more definitive answer.

    Note that these numbers are preliminary and are subject to revision when the 2016 ERP data is released around this time next year, and then again when the 2016 Census data is released.

    • John Gray says:

      Walkerville has recently “enjoyed” a small boom in property development, particularly of high rise apartments, which is the likely explanation of these data. It is one of the last inner city suburbs to go through the “youth for oldies” cultural change partly because the larger older properties are tightly held and partly because it has very little land available for redevelopment. Walkerville council are also quite conservative so not likely to be that attractive to small scale developers (ie block splitters). It will be interesting to test my thesis by looking at the age patterns of Walkerville for the 2011 census vs the 2016 census when it eventually comes out. John (social health demographer)

  3. John Verbeek says:

    Some corrections if I may regarding your post on population. The Shire of East Pilbara is in the Pilbara not Kimberleys and lest it be seen as reflective of the whole Pilbara, the other three LGAs Port Hedland, Ashburton and City of Karratha all had increases in population, a point which WA media failed to pick up on when also decrying the end of the mining boom. It needs to be said that whilst the construction boom in iron ore projects has peaked two of Australia’s biggest resource projects in history, the $55b Chevron Gorgon (2 LNG trains still under construction) and the $29b Chevron Wheatstone LNG projects are still under construction. Additionally record shipments of iron ore and LNG have come out of Pilbara ports in the last 12 months. When Gorgon and Wheatstone are fully online they will propel Australia into World no 1 for LNG production. The Pilbara continues to be the engine room of the Australian economy with mineral and petroleum sales of $77.6b (Nov 2015) and a combined GRP of $56.5b. The Shire of East Pilbara and City of Karratha are ranked 6th and 8th largest LGA GRP in Australia after Cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast. So despite the “substantial population decline” East Pilbara has moved up to sixth place in Australian LGA GRP with a bigger output than City of Adelaide.These are hardly indicators of a mining bust.

  4. Simone says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve made a couple of minor adjustments to the blog in light of this. I do take your point about the GRP, however I think it’s pretty clear in the post that it’s written from a demographic rather than economic perspective. A 4.4% decline in population after massive increases in previous years is a turnaround in anyone’s language. I would also like to point out that although the councils you mentioned did technically record an increase in population, they are incredibly modest in light of previous years – 4 people in Ashburton is hardly an increase especially when they are estimates. It will be interesting to see if these trends continue in light of your comments, and of course the 2016 Census will provide a new population benchmark for analysis.

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